Officer who restrained school teacher had mixed record


AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin police officer who violently restrained a female elementary school teacher during a traffic stop last year has a mixed record, according to performance evaluations obtained by KXAN.

APD Officer Bryan Richter has been in the spotlight since video of him restraining Breaion King during a traffic stop became public on Thursday. The arrest took place in June of 2015. A police cruiser video shows Richter slamming King to the ground, dragging her and raising her off the ground by her hands while they were handcuffed behind her back.

According to records reviewed by KXAN, Richter’s superiors often praised him for his work ethic and “uncanny” ability to ferret out felons. However, the reviews also show Richter led his region in “response to resistance,” which are also called R2Rs or use-of-force events.

One superior reviewing Richter’s performance in 2011 and 2012 attributed his high number of resistance cases to a high frequency of felony arrests. The review states that Richter had no policy violations at that time.

Richter was also involved in three officer-involved shootings, a review states. It is not clear from the review what part Richter had in those events.

“Given the amount of self-initiated activity generated by Richter along with his desire to dig beyond the surface of calls, his involvement in R2R’s is not surprising,” the report states.

Richter received a commendation for his part in a foot pursuit and arrest of an evading sex offender in May of 2015, among several other commendations for difficult arrests, according to department records.

APD Chief Art Acevedo publicly condemned Richter’s method of restraining King. Mayor Steve Adler called the video of King’s arrest “deeply troubling.”

A second officer, Patrick Spradlin, has also come under scrutiny for a racially charged comment he made to King while she sat in the back of a police cruiser following the traffic stop.

The camera appears to capture Spradlin saying African-Americans have “violent tendencies.”

Meanwhile, Spradlin’s civil service file includes commendations and positive annual reviews, in addition to some criticism.

His 2007 review noted Spradlin received a written reprimand for a crash while he was riding an APD motorcycle. His 2014 review mentioned he received two complaints during the evaluation period.

He was praised in nearly every review for his work overseeing the department’s STEP Grant from TXDOT, which gives the department additional funding for traffic enforcement. In one of those years, Spradlin was named STEP “Officer of the Year.”

Spradlin’s work represented nearly half of the tickets and warnings attributed to his shift at APD. His 2014-2015 review made note that he made 110 arrests, the most of any officer on his shift, and wrote more than 670 tickets and warnings.

“Officer Spradlin is an excellent officer. He will be a continued asset to the Austin Police and the citizens of Austin,” the reviewing officer wrote in 2015.

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